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North Korea and South Korea use hotline for first time since 2016

A South Korean official checks the status of the diplomatic phone line used to speak with North Korea. Photo: South Korean Unification Ministry via Getty Images

North Korea and South Korea spoke directly today on a phone line that hadn't been used since 2016, per CNN. The rare diplomatic contact — initiated by the North — comes after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un expressed a desire for his country's athletes to take part in next month's Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Why it matters: Any contact between the two nations is a positive sign, especially after a war of words on Twitter that featured President Trump threatening a nuclear exchange against the North. This development plays into South Korean President Moon Jae-in's hope that the Pyeongchang Games could bring about positive movements toward peace between the two Koreas.

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